Former Elizabethtown Councilman Terry Shipp is back at City Hall as he takes on a newly created role of business development officer.
Shipp said the position, just like the name suggests, will focus on “business development.” This new role with city government was formed to further help lead Elizabethtown into a new era of growth and opportunity, particularly on the heels of the announcement of Ford’s plan to build twin manufacturing plants at the Glendale megasite.
The plants are part of Ford’s push for its new generation of electric vehicles. The company has partnered with SK Innovations, a South Korean manufacturer, to produce batteries for electric vehicles.
“If there’s ever been a good time to sell Elizabethtown, it’s now,” Shipp said, noting the city was already a regional hub with its location, airport, hospital, and more.
Moving forward with business development, Shipp, who served on city council for eight years, said they will have three areas of focus: welcome and support; outreach; and recruitment.
“We want to be very supportive of our new businesses that we anticipate coming in, but we also don’t want to forget the existing businesses that are already here,” he said. “We want to make sure the new businesses feel very welcome, and we want to give them all the support and attention we can to get them up and open and going, but at the same time we want to focus on our existing businesses too.”
In outreach efforts, Shipp said they want to make sure they are effectively communicating with all the stakeholders involved.
“As they know what our efforts are, we’ll be able to help local businesses when they have problems or issues. We’ll be able to mirror them up and match them up with the best resource,” he said.
For the third leg of the stool, recruitment, Shipp said they are going to go out and recruit businesses that they feel the city might be lacking. These could potentially be identified through local business referrals, community suggestions, or other avenues.
“We’re going to try to identify some of these businesses and see if we can’t recruit some into Elizabethtown,” he said. “And if we can’t recruit them in, we’ll look from within and see how we can find the right people and right opportunities and maybe we can start something.”
He noted also looking at incentives for more development on the south end of town.
Shipp said the mayor, council, and other city leadership have big plans for Elizabethtown’s future.
“They’re not thinking small. They’re thinking this is our opportunity,” he said. “And we want to manage the growth the right way.”
To help ensure they do manage it the right, Shipp said they also plan to look to other communities that have been through the same development to find out what they did right and what they wish they could’ve done differently.
“This is a really neat opportunity for Elizabethtown,” he said.
Mayor Jeff Gregory at last week’s City Council meeting said Shipp brings with him a lot of experience in small business as well as government.
“We have hired him to sell our city based upon the fact we have a lot of good things going on here as well the fruits that we have been able to bear in Glendale with Ford and SK Innovations coming down there,” he said during the meeting. “We thought this would be a great time to pick somebody up to represent our city, go out and speak for our city when it comes to new business, and also be involved with the whole process of getting that established when somebody does want to come in and open a new business.”
Shipp started his role as business development officer earlier this month.
Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1417 or [email protected].